Reframing a Problem & Systems Thinking

We took the challenge of solving for a company's severe customer attrition; reframing the idea of what it meant for a business to "meet" a customer for the first time. We also built a new system - interactively and technologically - for the company to use when meeting potential customers for the first time.


We began by inviting the very same customers who'd decided to leave the company to share their experiences with us, extensively documenting their stories. These stories revealed a personal, vulnerable view of the decision to apply with a financial institution - a point of view that wasn't reciprocated by the company. The advent of technology had led the company to simply digitize the analog, as opposed to using the technology to design a more intimate, curated experience.


 This disconnect in the early stages of a customer's relationship with the company sowed the seeds for latter attrition. This reality also contrasted with the business's current focus on the later stage of a customer's experience. Former customers' stories - in the form of videos, letters, and photographs - were collated to convey the problem reframe to accountable stakeholders. These personal messages, in accompaniment with experience maps, not only refocused stakeholder attention, they ignited a relentless drive to address a previously unconsidered human-centered problem.


In partnership with analysts and product designers, we rapidly prototyped and tested different system designs to address this new area of focus. Sacrificial concepts, paper prototypes, and user role-playing were used to zero in on the optimal experience. The team also partnered with technology teams to simultaneously test potential back-end technologies with front-end experiences, understanding trade-offs in a given design. The project concluded with the delivery of a high fidelity, interactive prototype capable of showcasing multiple future experiences. We also delivered a roadmap to move future production teams from their current state through subsequent stages of development and design.

Key methods used:

In-depth Interviews, Empathy Probes, Experience Mapping, Sacrificial Concepts, Paper Prototypes, Role-Playing